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"Notorious Thieves": Rouhani Insists the US is Obstructing Vaccine Procurement

December 27, 2020
Pouyan Khoshhal
4 min read
Mazandaran is the only Iranian province where infections are officially on an upward trend
Mazandaran is the only Iranian province where infections are officially on an upward trend

At a meeting of the National Coronavirus Taskforce on Saturday, December 26, President Rouhani defended his administration’s efforts to purchase a coronavirus vaccine and assured Iranians that his government would succeed, despite pressure from the US.

"No one should doubt the clear viciousness and obstruction of the Americans, not only in the matter of buying vaccines, drugs and food, but also in any transaction or purchase from abroad,” he said. “We called on the country where our money is to transfer it to us so that we could buy the vaccine, that country assented, and OFAC [US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control] did not seem to mind – but then they said it must be transferred to an American bank first, then from the American bank to us. But who trusts you? You have stolen our money wherever you have found it. How can you trust a notorious thief?

“Our people should know we have problems, but these problems won’t block our efforts.  Something might end up more expensive, something might be done with delay, but it will be done”.

 

Schools Shall Remain Closed

Traffic curfew within cities from 9pm to 4pm has been “one of the most effective measures” in containing the spread of coronavirus and this curfew will continue, said Alireza Raeesi, spokesman for the National Coronavirus Taskforce. No city in Iran is officially in a red state of alert for coronavirus transmission but the curfew will apply in orange and yellow cities.

Schools will also remain closed and classes must be conducted remotely until the situation improves. Raeesi expressed hope that schools will reopen next year after a vaccination program gets under way.  According to Raeesi, the rate of coronavirus hospitalizations has dropped by more than 40 percent and fatalities by more than 50 percent. In all Iranian provinces except Mazandaran, he said, the number of infections and fatalities have been falling.

 

Provinces Round-up

In the past 24 hours 181 new coronavirus patients were admitted to hospital in Mazandaran, bringing the total number of hospitalizations in the province to 1,104. This is high number for Mazandaran because even at the peak of pandemic in recent months the number of hospitalizations in the province seldom exceeded 500.

The situation in Tehran province’s hospitals is “satisfactory” and these facilities have the capacity to admit non-coronavirus patients, said Nader Tavakoli, deputy director of Tehran Coronavirus Taskforce, who reported that currently a total of 2,100 Covid-19 patients are hospitalized in Tehran.

Referring to the cold weather and the possibility of increase in the number of coronavirus infections, Tavakoli said that “of course this is not very predictable but, fortunately, based on our tests the situation is quiet but complying with health guidelines is still necessary.” He said no special measures had been taken to confront unexpected developments during the winter and it is unlikely that new decisions will be made regarding restrictions because of cold weather.

With the hospitalization of 46 new Covid-19 patients in Ardebil the total number of hospitalizations in the province has reached 258. Dr. Shahram Habibzadeh, president of Ardebil University of Medical Sciences, reported that in the past 24 hours 40 Covid-19 patients were released from the hospitals and 72 patients are currently being treated at ICUs. Currently, three cities in Ardebil are in an orange state of alert and eight cities are yellow.

Coronavirus wards in Alborz hospitals are almost empty and the number of coronavirus infections, hospitalizations and fatalities in the province has fallen significantly, reported Mehrdad Babaei, spokesman for the Alborz Coronavirus Taskforce. He said that the only worries about the resurgence of coronavirus at this time are “cold weather” and the “mutation of the virus in some countries”.

In the past 24 hours eight more Covid-19 patients died in Alborz, bringing the death toll in the province to 2,550.

In the past 24 hours, for the first time in 105 days, Kermanshah was spared any coronavirus fatalities, reported Dr. Mahmoud Reza Moradi, president of Kermanshah University of Medical Sciences. In the same time period 34 Covid-19 patients were released from hospitals and 30 new patients with coronavirus symptoms were hospitalized, bringing the total number of hospitalizations in the province to 204. As of now, the official Covid-19 death toll in the province stands at 1,420.

In Qazvin, in the past 24 hours, six other Covid-19 patients died, bringing the death toll in the province to 1,213, reported Qazvin University of Medical Science. During the same 24 hours 90 new cases tested positive for coronavirus and 37 of them were hospitalized. Currently 260 suspected and confirmed cases of Covid-19 are hospitalized in the province.

In the meantime, Qazvin Coronavirus Taskforce announced that the traffic curfew from 9pm to 4am will continue in cities in orange and yellow states of alert across the province.

 

Iran’s Latest Coronavirus Statistics

In her daily briefing for December 26, health ministry spokeswoman Dr. Sima Sadat Lari announced the official coronavirus statistics for the past 24 hours:

"Notorious Thieves": Rouhani Insists the US is Obstructing Vaccine Procurement

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